Dan's Blog


Friday, June 30, 2017

DRIVE-THRU VINO:  From the country that brought us drive-thru food, drive-thru banks and drive-thru churches, there now comes drive-thru wine.

The East Hampton Star (New York State) recently reported that in the town of Sagaponack, one winery, Wölffer Estate Vineyard, is now offering “a drive-thru” service on Montauk Highway for its Rosé wines this summer. It offers its “Summer in a bottle” Rosé and “Noblesse Oblige” Sparkling Rosé, for sale by the case from a stand on the side of the highway on the Fridays and Saturdays of summer holiday weekends.


Crazy isn’t it? In most states of the USA you can’t ship wine across the border but yet in New York State you can buy it on the side of the highway. God Bless America!!!

WELL SAID SIR:  Mitchell Taylor M.D. of Taylors Wines (known as Wakefield Wines overseas due to Taylors Ports from Portugal) who is currently Chairman of Australia’s First Family of Wine, Director of WFA, the Liquor Merchants Association and Chairman of the National Wine Foundation, recently made the perfect statement when he said to The Drinks Business on 15/05/2017:

“People talk about the romance of using cork, to me romance is riding through Central Park (N.Y.) in a horse-drawn carriage, not using cork”

I could not agree more!  Just like we use a car to get around instead of a horse-drawn carriage, we need to use modern, effective bottle closures not “romantic” anachronisms!

WINTER in ADELAIDE:  Between the 28th to 30th July, the Adelaide Hills will host their annual WINTER REDS. Participants have a choice of more than 30 cellar doors to visit, offering a range of activities from winetastings, ticketed fine lunches and scrumptious dinners, fine food providores, live entertainment and warming fires. Admission to the general events is free once you have bought your $10 tasting glass. All the events information can be found and bookings made on  or downloaded the guide at

For any further questions you can contact them directly by email:

Wineries that I can personally recommend are: Artwine, Paracombe Howard Vineyards, Scott La Prova and Longview Vineyards.

So plan the weekend, don your thermals and head to “them thar hills” for a fabulous time!

IT’S THE RUSSIANS AGAIN!! :   Not only are they accused of meddling in US politics, which resulted in the USA being “Trumped” but now there is news that a Russian man, Aleksandr Iugov, who has just been jailed for four years by a court in Dijon France for peddling around 400 counterfeit bottles of the best and most expensive Burgundy wine – Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC). He was also fined €700,000 of which half will go back to the Domaine.

It was part of a Europol operation across Europe which arrested seven people. The estimated value of fake Burgundy sold was put at €2.5 million, with a number of bottles not having been recovered. So, if you are looking to buy any DRC at between $1,000 and $2,500 a bottle, make sure you check the provenance very, very carefully, or maybe just stick to Grange!

AFRICA:   There are 54 countries in Africa. In descending order of wine consumption, Equatorial Guinea is ranked the highest with wine comprising 72% of all the alcohol consumed in the country. Followed by Ghana, Zimbabwe, Seychelles and Angola.

Those consuming significantly less wine than the above, but are next on the list are: Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. South Africa which is the largest wine producing country on the continent does not make it into the top 10.

Since the turn of the century, Uganda has started growing wine grapes, in the south of the country. They grow classic European varieties as well as hybrid vines and even some Native American varieties, whereas, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Tanzania make their wines mainly from Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Semillon, Chenin Blanc and Muscat.

I suspect that it might be quite some time before we see Ugandan wines in-store here in Australia. However, if you get the opportunity to try any of these wines, I would be very interested to hear what you think of them.

HEALTH:  Oh! Just in case you don’t have enough good reasons to enjoy a glass, or three, of good wine, or you might want to justify this great social activity, please check this website out:

It’s all about 15 health reasons to drink wine – I am particularly interested in #5 as my mother suffers from Alzheimer’s.

However, I can tell you that #9 doesn’t work so much, well at least not for me!

Cheers, have a good week and enjoy great wines!


At the start of the month I spent a few days in Canberra and had the opportunity to visit Mount Majura VINEYARD and taste their range – which I have posted about on social media. Therefore, this is week’s review covers a fascinating exercise done by this Canberra District winery with Tempranillo.

Tempranillo is one of the leading “Innovative” (alternative) varieties in Australia, with around 340 wineries (approx. 14%) of Australia’s wineries now producing this variety. It will soon be knocking on the door to be allowed in to the “Mainstream Grape Varieties” club.

While there are some Aussie winemakers making their Tempranillo as though it was a Shiraz or Cabernet (instead of giving it the individual TLC it requires), most winemakers have realised how much more potential this variety has when treated as an “indi-bloody-vidual”! These winemakers are producing good quality Tempranillo that is not too big and tannic.

Mount Majura VINEYARD produce a classy, elegant Tempranillo each year, but out of 2015 they also kept separate small parcels of wine from each of the three blocks on their property that the Tempranillo comes from. 

By doing this, it allows visitors to the cellar door to taste not only the finished blend, but also the component parts. This is a very rare opportunity in the Australian wine industry.

So starting with the trio of component wines:

2015 MOUNT MAJURA DRY SPUR TEMPRANILLO:  The grapes for this wine are sourced from the block which is located on the other side of the hill from the cellar door. Incidentally, the cellar door set up is excellent, with tasting tables outdoors (under cover) as well as indoors, plus great staff.

This wine has lovely, juicy red fruits and great palate weight.

2015 MOUNT MAJURA LITTLE DAM TEMPRANILLO:  For this next wine, the block source is right next door to the little pine forest at one end of the property.

This wine looks quite a lot like a Crienza style Spanish Tempranillo with significant savoury characters and dense fruit.

2015 MOUNT MAJURA ROCK BLOCK TEMPRANILLO:  For this third wine, the block source is located near the cellar door and is on the stoniest ground. It supplies the strongest perfume aromas of the trio, with the lightest and most vibrant fruits along with elegance and finesse.

now to see whether the “whole is greater than the sum of the parts”, as they say in the classics:

2015 MOUNT MAJURA TEMPRANILLO:  This is their flagship wine, which is a combination of the three above and looking very much like a young Spanish “Reserva” style wine. It has powerful perfumed aromas of dark berries, a hint of musk and some earthy characters.

On the palate it has deep, textured, complex flavours which are silky-smooth with a nice, tight-grained tannic, savoury finish. It is a powerful yet extremely fine and elegant Tempranillo. This augurs well for a long life for this classy wine IF you can keep your hands off it – which is very doubtful!


AND, the answer is YES.  The whole is greater than the sum of the parts, as this wine is more complex, has more depth and is more elegant. A very classy Tempranillo and one of the best Australian ones I have tasted.

In summary, Bloody Brilliant!!

Have a great week and enjoy some great Innovative wines. Cheers!